Let’s talk product development! The things we have been working on at Blockport to ensure that we deliver an awesome, stable, and secure product. On the 29th of March 2018 we kicked off our private Beta period. Since then, onboarding the first users to our private beta environment has been exciting and very rewarding.
So far, the private beta period helped us identify and solve over 50 different bugs and improvements — small and large. In this update we would love to share our progress with you and explain what we have learned in the last couple of weeks.
Improving our product
Asking feedback from users can be scary. It can throw you off balance and force you to deviate from your carefully thought out vision and product roadmap. Feedback might be really inconvenient, especially if you are building something on a tight schedule. It is, however, the best way to validate if you are headed in the right direction and get valuable input on where you can improve.
So, what have we worked on in the past weeks as a result of the feedback received from our beta users?
Polishing our UI
No surprises here, but always worth emphasizing: Blockport has an extreme focus on usability, user-friendliness and design. We believe that a great user experience will open up this new digital crypto economy for everyone. Therefore, we have polished our UI in the past weeks. To give you a small sample of the improvements, we have:
Fixed styling and scaling issues for our onboarding flow. We use a combination of forms, illustrations, CTA’s and explanatory text to guide our users from signing up for our platform to setting up their account. Optimizing these screens for all devices and screen resolutions has been a large chunk of our “fast and easy” beta improvements;
Changed the placement and content of our header and footer to improve navigation and make it easier for our users to give us feedback and find our support options;
Added screens for exception flows and errors. Designing and building the happy flow of a product is relatively easy. However, covering all the exception flows and providing users with a good explanation for these exceptions is more difficult. We have spent considerable time changing, adding and/or removing UI components and pages for all the exception flows on our platform.
A trading platform consists of a truckload of different features that all operate with each other in a coherent way. Before reaching the point of actually executing a crypto transaction, first time users need to interact with five or six different features. These features need to work well together and communicate extensively with one another in the backend. Therefore, we have spent a considerable amount of time on validating and improving features by:
Tweaking the email verification flow during the onboarding process. To make onboarding quicker we decided to remove some of the steps and simplify the email confirmations needed to validate your credentials and reset passwords;
Improving the validation process of our user’s identity. Even though we use a third party solution to verify the identity of our users we received a number of suggestions on how we could improve the flow. We simplified the form used for validating the personal details and we clarified the progress bar for the onboarding process as a whole;
Validating fund deposits. The beta has been our first opportunity to test the integration with our banking partner (Bunq) using significant payment volumes. Offering a smooth and secure FIAT-gateway is one of our selling points so we are happy to have validated that we can process large EUR-payment volumes on our platform;
Improving trading flows. The core of our proposition is making crypto trading transparent and easy. This should be reflected in the features we offer for buying and selling different currency pairs. In earlier UX validations we split the user flows for buying, selling and exchanging crypto and during this beta period we added easier input options and extra information to show our users what is going on under the hood after they have submitted their orders on our platform.
Stability, speed and security
Related to the functional trading flows is the stability and speed of our trading engine. A stable and efficient trading platform is a prerequisite for a great trading experience. During the beta we have been paying attention to the performance of our current integration with the external exchange and have defined goals for improvement and refactoring. Until now results have been hopeful, but we are not quite there yet. More testing needs to be done before we can confidently increase the number of users on our beta platform.
On top of the attention spent on the stability and speed of our components (and their interactions), we have been greatly improving our infrastructure and the way we manage it. The improvements we are currently implementing will allow us to release future changes with more speed and stability. We do not aim to solely improve our speed and security in terms of statistics, but also want to increase the efficiency by which we can improve overall quality of our production environment.
What’s next for our product teams?
These weeks we continue to work tirelessly to fix all findings thrown at us so we will be ready to onboard additional beta users. We still have a large backlog of improvements we need to pick up. Secondly, we will deliver improvements we have scoped in anticipation of meeting our tight beta deadline. Features which are not vital for the core product experience, but are great additions for our users: Real-time notifications, for example.
Most importantly, we will spend additional time on monitoring and improving our trading engine and implementing further security improvements. After all, building and maintaining a flawless reputation is a prerequisite when being trusted with the responsibility of handling our customers’ funds.